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Israeli leadership faces the problem of weighing rapidly shifting threats and establishing a set of priorities for how to deal with the most pressing demands.“Priority one is a nuclear Iran,” says a senior planner for the Israel Defense Force (IDF). “If they continue at the current rate, in three years they will be very close [to having a nuclear weapon].”Israeli calculations are that Iran has 2,400 kg of low-enriched uranium. LEU has less than a 20% concentration of U235. If they build a stockpile of 4,000 to 5,000 kg, they are considered as having moved into the weapons threshold. Iran’s operation of 3,000 centrifuges was considered as crossing a “pink line.” Having enough enriched uranium for a bomb is considered a red line. Iran’s possession of a bomb will create a nuclear umbrella for Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, analysts contend.“So Israeli defense policy is to delay Iranian nuclear development [now] and stop it in the future,” the official says. “We think there is a possibility to stop or considerably delay the Iranian nuclear program with diplomatic efforts and military efforts other than strike,” he says. “There are other intelligence and clandestine options to delay Iran’s program.”The nuclear threat is followed in importance by the proliferation of advanced weapons – primarily various types of ballistic missiles with improved guidance –in the hands of the radical axis.In Lebanon are 3,000 to 4,000 medium range rockets that can fire from both north and south of the Litani River, say Israeli analysts. Additional hundreds of long-range rockets can fire from deep in Lebanon to deep into Israel. Depots of missiles are now located in the Bekaa Valley and south of the Litani with a strategic reserve stashed in Beruit.“The M600 Zelzal is very problematic [because of its improved guidance and 150-250 mi. range,” an Israeli official says. “And now there is the Scud [ballistic missile] that in principal can strike Jordan and Egypt. The ammunition was transferred to Hezbollah by Syria and Iran via the Qods force.Several storage sites for these rockets in Syria belong to Hezbollah.“That’s where Syria transferred some Scud Ds to Hezbollah,” he says. “Some stayed in the swap zones in Syria and others went to depots in Lebanon. But while everybody is concerned about the Scuds, they are no more problematic than the M600 missiles.”The warhead of the M600 is not as big as the Scud-D’s and it can not reach Beersheba south of Jerusalem, but it does have other attributes.“It is much, much more accurate,” the Israeli analyst says. “They took the Iranian Fateh 110 rocket and improved them in Syria to the M600. The Syrians have many projects for building their own forces. But part of even the newest projects go to the Hezbollah. It is like they are responsible for building two organizations. That is how those non-state governments are getting strategic capabilities.”With the transfer of weapons has also gone a steady stream of intelligence that concerns officials. Russia has supplied intelligence to Syria, and the intelligence sharing between Syria, Hezbollah and Iran is huge, say analysts.“The J-2 [intelligence organization] of the Lebanese military is totally penetrated by Hezbollah,” says the senior Israeli official.Syria, which started as a conventional military force, now has a new structure made up of conventional arms, strategic aircraft, missiles and rockets and Hezbollah’s surrogate army has strike capabilities that are based in both Lebanon and Syria.“There are 130 Shiite villages [in southern Lebanon] that provide firing sites for short and medium-range rockets. They have a concept of operations completely separate from the Lebanese army. There are at least 22 weapons storage sites and 13 command and control or headquarters locations.“These transfers are authorized by two governments – Iran and Syria,” the official says. “We’re talking about funding, transfer of knowledge and training in camps run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Qods Force and others. You can see other camps in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gaza and other places.”
ar99, Israel, Iran, Syria
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